“It has taken me a very long time, a very long time, to give myself permission to fly and breathe fire.”
~Siri Hustvedt

I’ve been coaching for many years, and working in leadership a few years before that. I’ve learned countless things over these years, but one learning stands out more than any other. How much we all hold ourselves back.

Maybe it’s part of what we’re all taught when we’re young. Maybe, perhaps unintentionally, our parents or teachers told us to settle for less, or not to think as highly of ourselves. Maybe we learned it in our first job – a boss that shut us down, or again perhaps with good intentions, reminded us to set our goals a bit lower. Maybe we somehow absorbed that others would be threatened by our success, our flying, or that we’d upset the systems that held so much in place.

It doesn’t matter so much where it comes from. What matters is that I’ve witnessed it too many times to think of it as anything less than a mild epidemic. But I think it’s an epidemic that can be addressed, and even put right.

Because I think we all deserve the chance to fly and breathe fire. And I think we all have that capability hidden – perhaps deeply – within us.

I challenge my clients to list their strengths and what they bring to their team, business, work, and life. I prod them to own what they do well, and to set their sights high for where they want to go. I encourage them to surround themselves with people who believe in them and will reinforce their ability to take off and fly.

I also, of course, encourage them to be prudent in their endeavors. To not attempt flying without, at least at first, a net underneath them. To not breathe fire in an enclosed room. To be smart about how they set out to let themselves soar, but to, indeed, let themselves soar.

I like to give my clients permission to do all these things, especially since my permission means pretty much nothing. Then I challenge them to give themselves permission as well. To let themselves be all that they can, and want to, be. To fly and breathe fire, whatever that means for them.

And to have a hell of a good time while doing it.

Where (and how) can you give yourself more permission to fly and breathe fire?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

If you want to breathe fire, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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